Tokyo Assembly Passes Bill 156 – Anti-Anime and Manga Bill is now Law

Bill 156, known under such names as Nonexistent Youth Bill Ver.2, Nonexistent Crime Bill and the Anti-Anime and Manga Bill, was approved by a majority of full session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.

Self regulation will be mandated from April 1st and sales regulation enforcement will begin from July 1st of 2011. While the amendment does not specify the status of previously published books, specialists believe reprinting of titles published in the past will now be subject to the new restrictions after the above dates.

As you already know, Tokyo already has the power to designate anything that is too sexually stimulating for minors OR too sadistic for minors OR too likely to cause criminal acts among minors OR cause suicide among minors as “harmful material”, and force such material to be treated as adult only material.

With the passage of Bill 156, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will have the additional power to restrict any manga, anime and video games (but not live photography works) that feature any sexual acts that would violate criminal codes or Tokyo ordinances OR sexual depictions between close relatives who could not legally get married to be treated as adult material IF they are presented in “unjustifiably glorified or exaggerated manner.”

To see complete details of the bill, go here.

This is a sad day for anime and manga and video games, but the fight will continue. With the Big 10 manga publishing companies up in arms, the issue is unlikely to fade away any time soon.

I also believe the democratic process suffered a major setback as well. Tens of thousands of formal petitions, large numbers of phone calls, truck loads of letters, and enough email traffic to overflow many legislator’s email servers were reported. As I understand, the vast majority of these were in opposition. Over the next few weeks, we’ll find out more about the numbers involved, but I believe this bill’s legislative process suffered several key missteps that taints its legitimacy.

Will the world end tomorrow? Will anime and manga die after July of 2011?
No, it won’t.

I’ll try to put together a Q & A soon, but please understand I can’t do it right away. I’m not getting paid for doing any of this and this is really putting a strain on my work and real life.

However, something I really do worry about the misconception of Japan as a nation were any and all sexually explicit hard core pornography is unregulated and that child sexual abuse photographs and films (i.e. child porn) are pumped out of Japan. Such myths will be very damaging unless it kept in check.

If you come across articles like that, I encourage people to write and tell its authors that is a very biased and not a very truthful statement to make. Unless people question such reporting, it will become accepted as fact.

I’ve covered that subject here.

In the meantime, this is a moment to remember that even in the darkest moments of a raging storm, you have to stay calm, remain vigilant and keep hope. The purpose of censorship is to instill fear, but fear is something we can fight all on its own.

Good night, and good luck.

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129 Responses to Tokyo Assembly Passes Bill 156 – Anti-Anime and Manga Bill is now Law

  1. SHADEN says:

    Ishihara’s going to get his dream of little girls selling themselves on the streets of Tokyo and junior idol exploitation becoming virulent after all.

    Welcome to the future.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      Hopefully things won’t go that bad, but I have read many child welfare experts complain about so much emphasis being placed on penalties of delinquency, yet little money is being devoted toward troubled youth out-reach programs.

  2. Liam Zwitser says:

    “Will the world end tomorrow? Will anime and manga die after July of 2011?
    No, it won’t.”

    That still seems to be the general impression on a lot of anime boards tough… don’t those people have brains?

    Anyway, I still wonder: “illegal sexual acts”, being illegal, can they be explicitly shown in live action movie anyway? I mean, isn’t that simply except because in order to film you have to do it for real, and since it’s illegal that is already punishable by law and thus no regulation is necessary? (Because it can’t be legally made anyway, not even for adults)?

    Obvious example: Sex with children. Illegal in life action movies, but legal in anime/manga (albeit 18+). So, isn’t it logical that live action movies are excempt?

  3. tungwene says:

    I feel bad for not commenting here before this until now but I’ve been following your blog through all this. Thank you so much for writing about all this. It must be very exhausting and disheartening so thanks for sticking to your guns. I’ve been linking people to your blog every chance I get, and there is a lot of confusion, misinformation, etc. floating around. I think your coverage of the issue is the most extensive and unbiased reporting of the issue available in English. It’s been a bright beacon of knowledge and truth in this confusing time. I look forward to your Q&A when you do post it.

  4. Leek says:

    Quick Aside: I want to thank you for all the comprehensive posting you’ve been doing up till this point on the subject. I’ve been redirecting both Japanese and English speaking comrades here to try and get the real right way to look at the situation. I feel like a lot has become muddled in all the blind rage and despair over the situation.

    But, like you, I see this as a far point from giving up and going to the corner. I feel like it’s a good trial to see if the anime/manga community can get on it’s legs and stand up for itself properly. A good time to show the community has a voice that can be used for something rather then yelling at one another.

  5. Murat says:

    Now what’s going to happen I wonder. It’s really depressing that they’ve approved something like that. Of course we can say it’s no end of anime and manga but this will damage the industry so much that now no one will be able to express themselves easily. You can pretty much say that this is a restriction on freedom of speech rights. They’ve pulled such dirty tricks on everyone. It’s impossible to accept something like that. It’s unacceptable to let some people to decide what is right to say/draw/express for you when all you try to do is provide everyone enjoyment.
    I wonder if it’s possible to unban this when there’ll be a new goverment that replace Ishihara’s. There should be someone that willing to hear the voices of the millions.
    I’m sure we’ll be able to do something about this. I’m sure.
    from Turkey.

    • Evan says:

      I am a manga fan and i agree this is ridiculous and going to practically ruin the market, but one thing i have noticed on all of the web forums and other websites I’ve looked this up on is that it says its banned in TOKYO. If it is just banned in Tokyo is it possible that the mangaka, that’s manga artists, just move to a different city? or is this enforced throughout japan?

      • David says:

        My understanding is the SALE of manga prohibited by the law will be banned in Tokyo. Since Tokyo represents a HUGE chunk of the manga-buying demographic in Japan, this will be enough to strike a MAJOR blow to the sales of anything not compliant with the law, potentially enough to cripple or even kill much of it.

        So yes, trying to sell outside of the city is, presumably, one avenue people will have, but it’s not a very appetizing one.

        • Olivier Tsukare says:

          They are not prohibited, they are to be sold as adult material. It may be a pain, cause limitations, etc, but it’s far from the same. You can already find adult material in the same bookshops that sell normal ones, usually just on a different shelf, sometimes a far away one but not always. It may mean those will need to be plastic wrapped, but that’s about it.
          It may have unintended effects: currently, what is on the “adult” shelves clearly belongs there. If the bookshops have to move there too stuff that in the public’s opinion doesn’t belong, it may further blur the genres separation, working against what seem to be the purposes of that law.

          I don’t know how they will apply it to online selling, too.

          Tokyo is a huge city, but it’s still far from the entirety of Japan. I heard publishing houses are contemplating moving some manifestations to Osaka or Kyoto, which may be a good thing actually. Down with Kanto centralism! (Can you tell that I live in Kansai?)

          • dankanemitsu says:

            Thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately, a ban in Tokyo will be respected nearly everywhere else in Japan. Even in the publisher is not in Tokyo, the books go through distributors in Tokyo, and large book retailors, such as Kinokuniya and Amazon.jp, will adhere to the standards sets by Tokyo.
            I agree-decentralization would be a good thing, but it would have no impact with the case of Bill 156.

  6. karice says:

    Firstly, thank you for writing so extensively on this, and providing translations of changes (and commentary) etc. I was just wondering – how does Japan’s current system of regulation work? Does Japan have a rating system like the Marvel Rating system, or perhaps like the one for publications in Australia?

    Publications (which broadly refers to books and magazines, but may also include other printed matter such as calendars, cards, catalogues etc) are not required to be classified unless they contain depictions or descriptions of sexual matters, drugs, nudity or violence that are unsuitable for a minor to see or read or likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult if sold as an unrestricted publication. It is an offence to sell, display or advertise a publication that is required to be classified without having it classified, or to display it other than in accordance with the classification requirements.

    Submittable publications are publications that are likely to warrant restriction to adults. These must be submitted to the Classification Board for classification before they can legally be sold, distributed or advertised.

    There are 4 classification categories for publications:

    • Unrestricted: Unrestricted publications may be freely delivered, displayed, sold and advertised. Where they contain material that is not recommended for readers under 15 they may be required to carry a consumer advice labels, stating: ‘Unrestricted – M – not recommended for readers under 15 years.’ The application of this consumer advice label to publications within the Unrestricted classification will be determined by the Classification Board in relation to the impact level of the publication;

    • Category 1 – Restricted. Not to be sold in Queensland. Not available to persons under 18 years of age. Must only be sold/distributed in a sealed wrapper. Where the cover is suitable for public display then the wrapper may be clear, where it is not suitable then it must be in plain, opaque wrapping.

    • Category 2 – Restricted. Not to be sold in Queensland. Not available to persons under 18 years of age. Must only be sold/distributed from premises that are restricted to adults.

    • RC (Refused Classification). Not to be sold or distributed anywhere in Australia.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      Believe me. If I had the time, I’d talk about that in more depth. I’ve learned a lot about the process, and I have to say it may not be perfect and yet it is much better than the Australian system or the MPAA, since a lot of emphasis is placed on the publisher’s decision on how to market something and using various restrictive barriers (taping magazine, specifying books as adult only, etc.) to differentiate readers.

      • karice says:

        Thanks for replying even though you have no time. I did see those bound books in bookstores and convenience stores when I was living there, though I am under the impression that these restrictions apply only to R18+ rated materials.

        (As I wrote below) I guess what I’m more curious about is who decides what is restricted or not at present, and how they go about deciding that. Whilst I’m not happy about the way Ishihara and co. seem to have forced this law through, there are some things that seemed to be readily available in e.g. Akihabara and Ikebukuro (esp. in certain 2nd hand stores) that I wouldn’t want children/teenagers to get hold of. Hence, I’d like to try and understand what they thought was lacking about the system that’s currently in place. (If you have just a minute to spare, I’d be happy to have a link or even just a Japanese search term to start off – I’ve tried googling, but don’t even know what to try…)

    • Here are the rules in Japan and sales of R18-Manga. Roughly.

      1. The book is a highly visible yellow mark to print the cover on regulation size .(patch seals is not permitted.)

      2. The magazine can be sealed with removable two tape. (The magazine binding, tie it tightly with packing tape. It is hard work for staff booksellers on morning.)

      3. Large as possible, See adult sales booth, to isolate it.

      4. For “convenience stores sell route” R-18 manga magazine. Total number of pages of the story is spent on sex percentage of total volume control.

      This is a about sales and logistics arrangements. The legal department and the editors office of each magazine/book has a huge amount of rules.
      “Mervel Rating System” to be established before, “Comics Code Authority” for the damage to the American comic book censorship. I learned this time.

      But,
      The magazine issued for the purpose of promoting a real sexual services. They are affected by any such restrictions.
      If you ever visit Japan, you will be amazed at the nonsense. Please visit the Japan bookstore experience.

      (this fuss is a matter of comic rating. At the same time, it is regulations to be FLEXIBLE to perform law enforcement is fear. even with a report of the Japanese media misunderstanding, Thats the problem.)

      Hideaki OE@Chiba,Japan

      • karice says:

        Thank you for taking the time to outline what happens with R18+ manga. I did see some of that when I lived in Japan (if I were still there, I’d drop into some bookstores and 2nd hand bookstores to see exactly what is available to the average person).

        However, what I’m really curious about is the procedure and guidelines by which such works are classified. E.g. is it self-regulatory, or does some classification body determine classification?

        (もし英語で書くのが大変でしたら、リンクでもお願いしますー日本語を勉強しているので、理解するように頑張ります...)

        • Thank you for read my comments,

          Japanese publishers association common Rating-code do not have.(except yellow mark and others…)

          Examining the reasons for this, that discussion is very much time is required.
          Manga was born at the same time, continue to fight and control movement of the “public”. And that makes Manga followed to change. on now unique visual art.
          The fuss continued from the spring, Rating-code is related to the problem. However, at an earlier time, that the wrong way for, I thought. I live close to Tokyo, and I feel acutely the crisis and suffering.
          In particular, listening to the words and actions of Governor Ishihara and vice-Governor Inose. I know for the Japanese mentality, and amplifies the anxiety and fear.

          In Tokyo Gov, ONE bureau may have been caused by an abnormal organizational condition. Looking to law enforcement and they are wrong, that danger. (Japan is the constitutional Nation, that law enforcement has the unusual a unique.)
          There yet…..
          Sorry! Japan is a time of 4:00 am soon. Sorry, a little sleep. Discussion and argue again.
          You’re trying to learn Japanese. Nice. Then here, I’m with you, I will tell it was written by tomorrow evening JST. Please read the best. Good luck.
          http://www.paradisearmy.com/doujin/pasok_akusyo_tsuihou.htm
          http://www.daimokuroku.com/?index=intsai&date=20101215

          Hideaki OE@Chiba,Japan

  7. DarkMirage says:

    @Liam Zwitser

    It is not logical at all since drawn children are not real children. Similarly, you can show a grown woman who looks like a child having sex in movies.

    Rape in movies does not have to be real rape because the actress is acting. Incest in movies does not have to be real incest because you can simply have two unrelated actors claiming to be siblings.

    So no, it’s not logical at all that live action is exempted from the law. Except maybe for the perception that otaku are easier to push around.

  8. Anonymous says:

    @2 Yes, stuff like CP would already be illegal due to their nature in live action stuff…ubless the actor/actress is over the age of 18 but appears to be younger (asian women are generally rather small in comparison to european women). Another thing to note though is that this would also include rape, which isn’t always illegal in live action stuff because they’re only portraying it, not actually committing it. Think of it like murder, in real life, it’s a no-no, but you see it in movies all of the time.

    Also note the limit of the scope of this, limiting it just just anime, manga, and games, while leaving out novels (which the governor just so happens to write, and they include rape) and other media forms. This bill was targetted at those forms of media seemingly out of spite, considering the governor’s known biases towards them.

    • KURO says:

      you know you make a very good point. i really don’t see why This guy has to target the things Otaku likes. There is only a few reason i can think of is: A.) his son is an Otaku and he wants to get rid of what his son loves. B.) He hates people that are younger then him. C.) He wants the “Asshole of the Decade Award.” D.) He’s gone crazy. or my favorite E.) he want’s all the little Japanese girls for himself and the only way to trick them is with bill 156. the one thing i don’t get is that if he is so “worried” about the youth, Why didn’t he add Movies, Books, and Pictures into the group as well? oh well, to me Ishihara is just some “Old Guy” who wants to tell people how to live.

      one more thing,

      Why would you pass this bill when the person who came up with it looks like they’re going to kick the bucket. I mean come on, the guy look like he can be the next stand-in for the Tales From the Crept.

  9. anoner says:

    @Liam Zwitser

    By live action they mean having a 18 year old or older person dress up in school clothes and portray a 15 year old. That’s where the question of illogic comes in: why is it unregulated in live *fictional* portrayals, as well as written portrayals (as both of those are explicitly exempted from the bill) but not drawn portrayals?

    As far “sex with children”. Well if somehow portraying the idea that two people in high school, say a 16 yo first year and an 18 yo third year that is deemed “too stimulating”; or as have already been shown, someone in high school who’s in a relationship with a college student, is immoral (and therefore restricted equivalently to porn) then I don’t know what to think. Besides, if you’re trying to make the case based what is valid in real life, then age of consent also varies by prefecture, which can differ from of marriage (girls can marry at 16 for example).

    So how will Koi Kaze be treated for example?

    And defining what is relationship should or should not be portrayed based purely on the eligibility of marriage seems ridiculous. Homosexuals can’t be legally married therefore, homosexual relationships that are deemed “glorified” would fall under these restrictions and therefore be punished as harmful material if they aren’t sold as 18+ to begin with (i.e. treated as porn)?

  10. Mediafag says:

    The first victims of this bill will be (of course) Kodomo no Jikan and To LOVE-ru: Darkness.

    • KURO says:

      i find it funny that they are having a problem with this when they grew-up on the stuff. May-be they should re-air Sailor Moon?

  11. Josh Taylor says:

    Dan, even if the letters and petitions have reached to the legislators of the DPJ and the LDP, they don’t give a damn about it. It won’t be long until Ishihara tries to make a similar legislation to make the Tokyo youth ordinance law go national. Face it, the final nail is placed in the coffin.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      The fact that there was so little time to react to the bill and the publishers were caught with their guard down made this much harder to fight.

      I do believe the publishers have learned something from this and I expect much more vigilance in the future.

      Despairing is easy. But it’s not very fun.

  12. anoner says:

    I hope more can be shown in Japanese media at least about the amount of email, letters, of citizens in opposition to the bill, if only just to counter the political smear campaign you mentioned earlier. Also, I hope more publishers pulling out of the TAF will send a message. I also wonder how feasible would a moving conventions or even company headquarters outside of Tokyo be. Would there be a symbolic, if not financial impact (do cities/prefectures get tax revenue?) Or is such a move highly unlikely?

    I guess another way would be what was alluded to earlier by Shueisha staff, and to simply continue in spite of the new bill and directly challenge it? sort of relying on mass/inertia? (similar to how alcohol prohibition in the US failed)

    • dankanemitsu says:

      I hope more would be shown. But after talking to people in other industries, it’s clear that the Japanese manga and anime industry needs to work harder to let it be known that numerous self-regulatory schemes exist, because many felt the there was nothing wrong with this bill.

      If you didn’t know hard core material was regulated, then you would think it was a good idea to regulate.

      Pulling out of TAF should never be forced. This is a difficult decision for any company to make.

      There is good chance a new event will come into play, but what’s really the question here is if Tokyo can repair the damage that’s been done. Some companies are already talking about pulling out other cooperative ventures with the Tokyo Met. Gov.

      I do believe many larger companies will move on as if nothing has happened, half out of spite but also because the text of the bill is hard to figure out.

      Other smaller companies, however, will yield and start to self-regulate excessively. We already see signs of this happening.

  13. DarkMirage says:

    BTW, I stumbled across this somewhat amusing Japanese article making tongue-in-cheek predictions on the outcome of this whole thing: http://getnews.jp/archives/89064
    Translated here: http://www.darkmirage.com/?p=1475

    A few of the points are actually quite interesting.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      I took a quick look. As you said, this is tongue-in-cheek but some of the points mirror what I said on NicoNico the other day.
      Tokyo’s regulator scheme relies upon the goodwill of the industry that is providing the goods (both books and film) and if that very industry feels they have been wrongs, there is little incentive for them to continue helping Tokyo.
      I do believe this will increase the rush for online distribution, especially on the part of individuals, since working in the system seems to be counter-productive in some respects. While the regulators may have wanted to stamp out “renegade publishers”, they may be actually creating an incentive to do so with this regulation. You can expect the logical conclusion that OYAPS will want to control the publishing of material on the Internet. That will be very hard to do.
      I really doubt many of the firms will move out, but there have been talk about paying part of your taxes out of Tokyo to another municipality. You can do this under Japanese tax codes.

  14. DarkMirage says:

    @anoner

    You are wrong. Homosexuality will not fall under this law.

    The law specifically says “illegal according to the penal code”. Incest and homosexual marriages may not be recognized by the civil code, but acts of incest and homosexuality are not penalized by the penal code.

    • Tokyo governor Ishihara statement for about homosexual person: “would be a genetic disease. I think the poor. “(OE translation) with that it adds. I am a heterosexual, I thought the “sterilization”.

      • DarkMirage says:

        That is true and I am not disputing that that is probably part of his agenda. But I don’t see how he can incorporate that view into the law as it is worded. Apparently they managed to secure a standalone clause for incest, but failed to do so for homosexuality. I see this as a slight defeat for him.

        According to Kadokawa’s chief, one of the lawmakers supporting the law apparently said something like, “can’t we do something to make homosexuality illegal” during the session. If this is true, it suggests that they realize this loophole.

      • Liam Zwitser says:

        Ishihara doesn’t get to apply these codes, what is and what is not harmfull will be decided by the same commision that does so right now. And anything that is covered under the new laws (all of it has to do with sex) could also easily be construed under the old laws (sex is usually sexually stimulating, not?) so if the commitee didn’t decide yaoi titles were harmfull earlier on then it would be strange for them to do so now.

        Actually, I wonder about something else: seeing as how this new classification actually does not expand the range of materials that can be deemed “harmfull” (yeah, de jure it does, but de facto it does not, because of the very vague wording of the *old* article), and the DPJ managed to pass an attachment stating that the social, artistic, “etc”. value of the work has to be taken in mind when regulating, I wonder if in practice, the situation actually won’t improve. This is offcourse dependant on who’s running the commitee, but seeing as how they have had the power to classify even freakin’ Bleach as harmfull for years apparently (could be construed as “too violent”, not?) and didn’t even do so for stuff like elfen lied, they are apparently quite industry-friendly. Thuss, they could also use this as an argument to become *more* carefull with what they classify as harmfull.

        And I agree with DarkMirage on the yaoi part — not affected. And Ishihara *can not* himself “use the law creatively* only the classification body can do that..

        All of this doesn’t take away the fact that I really don’t understand why anime just doesn’t fall under the normal Japanese movie rating system apparently. Simply classify it like 12, 15, or 18+ or whatever and sell it based on that. It works perfectly in the rest of the world, you know… :-?

        • DarkMirage says:

          I suspect it is because such a classification will add cost to anime and manga and may be particularly expensive for manga publishers to implement.

          Eventually I think it will be the best solution, but the industry will probably not do it willingly until they have no other choice.

  15. blitzkriegxgirl says:

    ok, i know nothing about all these acts and laws you people are talking about but from what i read i’ve been thinking they can’t ban manga completely right? The industry is just too vast, both in japan and overseas, for that to happen. so even if censorship IS introduced, we’ll still have manga out there. I think. I’m kinda befuddled right now after reading this.

  16. anoner says:

    @Dark Mirage

    I am basing it on this analysis:
    http://dankanemitsu.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/of-illegal-fictional-marriage-and-harmful-fictional-sex/

    Of course, there’s nothing in the bill that says, “ok, homosexual acts are exempt”, as even without the vague criteria of marriage (see above) it would most likely already fall under the existing criteria of harmful classification (anything deemed “unhealthy”) that just more broadly expanded with this bill. Of course, I realize that homosexual nor incestuous relationships are _not_ criminalized in real life, but the penal code was never used as a criteria anyways in judging portrayals of incest in this bill, but rather civil code of marriage (which makes even less sense)

    • DarkMirage says:

      That is only because they specifically managed to include a separate definition of incest precisely due to the fact that it is not covered by the “illegal acts” portion. The “illegal acts” are actually explicitly qualified to mean illegal in respect to the penal code (刑罰法規). Presumably this means that depiction of adultery is still acceptable.

      The fact that they failed to do the same for homosexuality suggests that certain political obstacles stand in the way.

      Since the rest of the law is not new and nothing in the new wordings target homosexuality, then my conclusion is that, with respect to yaoi and yuri titles, the problem does not lie with Bill 156.

      It may very well be the case that Ishihara is planning to crack down on homosexual titles. But this will entail creative use of existing law, rather than anything the modifications brought to the table.

      • anoner says:

        Ok I see what you mean. Yeah I’m sure a very loose application of the existing harmful classification criteria in Tokyo of “being detrimental to the healthy development of youth” could be applied to crackdown on such titles.

        The irony I see in including the criteria of “illegal acts” in bill 156 is how it is specifically limited to sexual and pseudo sexual portrayals … where as violence, nor gratuitous violence is not (neither is it mentioned under existing law)

        Although I guess that’s expected since including violence, or even “glorified” violence as part of the criteria of “illegal acts” would’ve immediately killed most of the shounen and action seinen titles, probably making it impossible to pass.

        But to me that it’s that kind of inconsistent approach, the irrational rationale (like throwing in the marriage criteria just to cover the incest part) shows how tailored this is to suite a certain agenda.

        • karice says:

          Re: targeting sexual crimes but not violence

          I read some interesting comments on a forum, stating (paraphrasing here) that rape in particular really demeans the victim and leaves them with heavy emotional scarring. Not to say that extreme violence might not have effects that are just as serious, but in terms of fictional depictions, I’d say that “glorified” depictions of rape or sexual/power violence far outnumber “glorified” depictions of violence.

          • anoner says:

            I have to strongly disagree with the assertion that the glorified or violent depictions of rape “far outnumber” depictions of nonsexual violence, particularly in mainstream anime and manga. You might be getting a skewed perspective if you’re just looking at certain types of ero-manga or ero-doujins. Even in edgier unrestricted manga it’s not prevalent or glorified. I also think vast majority of such depictions though are limited to the already restricted realm of adult-only, 18+ published material, a small portion of the entire anime/manga universe, which this bill does not cover.

            Now there are some examples of non-violent acts coercion, seme-uke themes in BL and so on. Whatever the case I’m sure everything will receive more scrutiny.

            But the illegal acts part covers more than just rape. Certain relationships, sexual and pseudo-sexual portrayal fall under this criteria. Perhaps titles like Okusama wa Joshikousei might, or anything involving relationship with or between minors (but how do you account for various ages of consent in different prefectures; likewise how do you judge age when it’s unspecified or uncorrelated with appearance, if you’re attempting to restrict fictional portrayals based on “real life” criteria;), so bishoujo, bishounen, ecchi, titles with raunchy scenes may be subject to such restrictions under this

            The fact that OYAPS had particularly warned artists about adaptions of the Tale of Genji makes me suspect this might be more the case

            • Liam Zwitser says:

              Well according to Dan, and also my legal experience (altough that is whit Dutch laws mostly offcourse!) ecchi won’t be affected by this. Fanservice is not sex…

              see Dan below:

              “The ordinance addresses only sexual and psuedo-sexual acts. By Japanese law, the former includes couplation that can lead to creation of a child, i.e. regular hetrosexual sex. Psuedo-sexual acts is the term that covers intimate sexual activity that can’t be included in the former, i.e. anal sex, lesibian sex, gay sex without penatration.” If that is the Japanese definition, than ecchi as in lots of fanservice, boobs and pantyshots won’t fall under it ;-)

              • anoner says:

                Yeah I just saw his definition. Considering pseudo-sexual acts involve any non-penetrative sexual contact since Dan also mentioned “Hugging gets tricky.” I would assume any shows portraying fanservice with physical or intimate contact (of which there are lots) as opposed to simple nudity, non-contact scenes, may fall under this still.

                • Liam Zwitser says:

                  “Hot kissing will probably be fine, but I’m not a Japanese lawyer, so I can’t say for sure.”

                  It will be ;-) That is what the “overly exagerated or justified” clause is for.

                  Hugging will be fine too. It’s not a sexual relationship or a sexual act after all. Also, hugging, is not “overly glorrified or exagerated”. I am not a Japanese lawyer either, but I do know something about law, and in general, articles such as this are apllied very strictly, so you’d need more than that to fall under this definiton.

                  BTW, which series are you talking about? I watched Bleach, Fullmetal alchemist, lucky star, K-on, Code geass, claymore, guyver, a certain magical index, my little sister can’t be this cute, the world god only knows, and a lot of other shows and movies, and none of them had sex scenes or fanservice other than maybe a kiss here and there or simple pantyshots/boobies.

                  Then again, I mostly watch action shows, adventure, sci-fi, and high school comedy — not much drama. (boring :3)

                  so, could you name some titles so I know what exactly you are talking about? It’s quite obvious the shows I just named will in any case not be covered by this bill, not? (Dan? ;-))

                  • tama says:

                    KissXsis for example. Even if it’s a committee that decides what is okay to approve as an all-age works, because of Ishihara’s attitude it won’t be that easy to get an ok on hugging, kissing etc.

                    • Liam Zwitser says:

                      Because of his attitude? How do you mean? they could already easily do something about that under the old definition,apparently Ishihara simply doesn’t have much infleunce on them. They are an independent body, you know ;-)

                      Apparently I simply don’t watch such shows then =P I am a big otaku, but like I said, Id on’t really like drama. I either want fighting and stuff or cute fluffy moe highschool comedy. =D I think we can agree the series I named won’t be affected by this =D

                      BTW, why does this crazy blog system make it smaller and smaller when replying to one another? :-(

            • karice says:

              No, I’m not referring to the R18+ titles (I’m not even aware of that many series which are under this classification). I don’t want to name titles, but I’m also not talking just about the BL field: shoujo has quite a number of them as well. And by glorified, I mean that rape (non-con, if you wish for a more neutral term) is depicted as an expression of love or something similar. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t depict characters enjoying sex, as it can be an expression of love, but I feel that a number of artists have gone too far, especially in current shoujo titles.

              Violence in anime manga? Most if not all titles I’ve seen don’t glorify it — there is violence, but characters who ENJOY it are usually villains. Of course, I don’t know how many characters would “blow up their best friend with a carefree laugh” like Meruru, because I don’t watch those types of shows…

  17. tama says:

    I have some question. This bill seems to emphaise on the exaggerated sexual acts so this means that stories about the romantic relationship between siblings and verrry hot kissing scenes are okay? And as long as it’s not exaggerated, let’s say that there’s a scene decipting that the siblings had sexual intercourse and is in a bed hugging each other; not showing the time they’ve done it, it’s ok to show sex scenes?
    And when is the time for the next election for TMG?
    Mr. Ishihara, we shall never forget your antagonism against Anime and Manga which is renowned not only in Japan but in the whole world.

    • dankanemitsu says:

      The ordinance addresses only sexual and psuedo-sexual acts. By Japanese law, the former includes couplation that can lead to creation of a child, i.e. regular hetrosexual sex. Psuedo-sexual acts is the term that covers intimate sexual activity that can’t be included in the former, i.e. anal sex, lesibian sex, gay sex without penatration. Hot kissing will probably be fine, but I’m not a Japanese lawyer, so I can’t say for sure.
      Regarding showing a couple together “after the fact” should not be a problem, as no sexual activity is depicted on screen. Hugging gets tricky.
      Mr. Shintaro Ishihara’s term expires immediate after the Tokyo Anime Fair, on April 10, 2011.

      • mika-chan says:

        “Mr. Shintaro Ishihara’s term expires immediate after the Tokyo Anime Fair, on April 10, 2011.”

        Nice to hear, so there is time that the bill can be eliminated before july 2011. Hope the tokyo population isn’t so stupid and close minded to vote for this racist again.

      • Josh Taylor says:

        Yes, but Ishihara is possibly going to plan on running for Prime Minister. This could mean he could take the Tokyo Youth Ordinance law national. Ishihara is violating the Pacifist Constitution of Japan.

        I don’t really want to see the history on the Attack of Pearl Harbor repeat itself, nor see Ishihara try reconquer Hawaii and the US territories like Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa, nor the attack on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. No offense Dan, but we got to do our best to get along.

        • tama says:

          Japan will be over for good if he becomes the Prime Minister. But I think something like that won’t happen.

          But there’s no need to bring about the American occupation of Japan. These two things are different and no one would force his country into an useless war.
          Even though it’s not like the rest of the world is very fond of America.

  18. tama says:

    And this bill doesn’t cover anyting about materials that already aim to adult right?
    Adult anime, manga and games should be untouched by this bill, I assume?
    Also what is going to happen late night shows? They’re not aimed at youths anyway so they should be okay?

    • dankanemitsu says:

      Material sold as adult only will not be impacted directly. Late night shows will be impacted, because what time they are broadcast does not impact accessibilty. Exposure would be less, but not accessibilty. Also, since those shows are sold as DVD’s with no age restrictions, it will be imacted there as well.

      • Liam Zwitser says:

        So for those borderline shows they will have to put an 18+ mark on front of them. But aren’t most “late night” shows 18+ already, since they are not aimed at youths?

        And offcourse, anything that has no sex in it and is broathcasted before say 10 o’ clock like fullmetal alchemist, lucky star, bleach, naruto, death note etc. won’t be impacted at all because they simply don’t fall under the definitions.

        I keep finding it strange the new definitions actually don’t cover anything the old ones didn’t already… and that apparently, even überviolent anime DVD’s can be sold to all ages… why not use the normal Japanese live action movie system for anime dvd’s as well. That way, everyone would be happy right? And children also wouldn’t be able to buy extremely violent shows…

        • anoner says:

          There are no 18+ shows that are broadcasted on TV that I’m aware of. In terms of using late night broadcasts as differentiator, I don’t think it makes much difference since there are at least 100+ shows a year and the vast majority of anime airs late night anyways, aside from subscriber channel AT-X, since most production committees and show sponsors pay for their own timeslots. While most of those shows aren’t aimed at children they still target a very broad audience, basically teens on up, likewise with manga from Shueisha and others.

          18+ here means it’s porn; i.e. the type with (censored) genitalia. Otherwise it’s not — which is how I feel it should be, since such a definition is very clear cut and is appropriate something classified as “adult-only”.

          The new bill on top of existing law just makes it easier for titles that are not porn to be effectively treated like porn (in Tokyo). In addition, the harmful publications law, which this bill expands, is punitive for titles that are initially sold as unrestricted then are determined to be “harmful”.

      • tama says:

        So late night shows will be affected and they will have less exposure, even if they’re aimed to adults, because the youth can still have access to it.
        Can they stop an anime that already airing on the late night timeslot or on TV which they found out to be harmful?
        Also unapproved anime won’t be able to air on tv right?

  19. Nanta555 says:

    There are some cases which the protest actually made a law change. I personally would like that to happen right now. In Economical view, this law actually reduce the profit and cost more. What makes me little sad is that just because Governor Ishihara said one thing, all people follow. While they say Democratic, it actually hits forcing.
    I will put some hope that the publishers would overrule the actual law that was passed.

    By the way, How could a person be a governor for so long? and He is so Old too.

    • mika-chan says:

      Ishihara term expire after TAF, so i really hope that a better and anime fan governator will be elected and remove this crap forever.

      • tama says:

        I just hope so too. Even the Prime Minister are not happy with the current things as well. Someone like him shouldn’t be governing a capital like Tokyo. I just hope that someone more open-minded will be elected. And what you know I feel positive about this.
        Mr. Kanemitsu what do you think about this? Should we be looking forward to the next local election? With pulling a stunt like this and being SOOO old (that I concerned about his sanity) he wouldn’t get selected again, would he? I don’t think people would be so out of their mind to do it.
        But there’re probably some poeple that supports this bill and even if a new governor were to be selected, there’s no guarantee that he would abrogate this bill. But let’s hope for the best.

    • tama says:

      It’s unacceptable that they force this bill on people for just self-satisfaction. Violence in anime is okay but sex is a no-no? That’s just way too stupid.
      I’m sure everyone will be able to do something about it.

      • Liam Zwitser says:

        We should watch out not to make that “why not violence too” argument too often, or we might end up with both ;-)

        • tama says:

          Because Ishihara can’t get his you-know-what up again that he tries to do things that beyond madness. If someone throws some eggs at him, he may try to restrict violence in anime and manga this time around, as you say.

  20. Mr.Dan. Please allow me to post it prominently again this comment. And going to a positive orientation, I believe.

    ——–

    What you(Commenters) can do:

    1. DO NOT PANIC. And you are not driven by intense emotion. You should never give up.

    2. DVDs & Blu-rays and Manga, you continue buying in the future. that “paying the price”.
    Mr.Dan translation works you might buy. It goes without saying. A list of titles here. http://www.translativearts.com/ And if you feel you have something from the work. Distributor of each country through a translator, studio, original-author “paper-mail” write of appreciation or support.

    3. Learning Japanese, learn Japanese of face very strict. Learn the they rules, they cultures (ex: bureaucratic culture), and efforts should continue until the dawn to talk to them.

    4. Manga / Anime culture, increase people to understand. If you were talking about manga, and you are just talking on the net, it is very hard. Take the pride of our culture. Each word and continue talking. But NOT forced to. Absolutely.

    5. You write “paper-mail”. To artists, animators, and studios, and publishers. And the Tokyo gov. The battle continued in June just before, and some people are very very tired. Some people with depression seem to Tweet Leave. Please caring for their minds and bodies, restore your heart. It is better in Japanese, English can be. Add one descriptive words, or even your drawings accompanied. You maked Dojin-shi(FanZine) sent him/her? Great. I try to do too.

    Hideaki OE@Chiba(Close in Tokyo) 2010/12/15

    ——–

    THX.

    • SHADEN says:

      I’m glad your spirits are high in the face of savage corruption and coverups by Ishihara and co.

      I’m only fueled further, as well.

      • Thanks Mr./Ms. SHADEN! I have a few hours later, I will enjoy in Tokyo Shibuya.
        The Manga-Artist Masami YUUKI (His major works are “PATLABOR”) the panel exhibition on there. He and his manga changed my life.
        (glad I live near the Tokyo, ban-zai! But Tokyo Gov please do NOT “change” our culture! )

    • drmchsr0 says:

      Already emailed the Tokyo Executive Government.

      I’d like to write a bunch of emails to certain creators, but I dunno how :<

      • Japanese artists have no agent system. So, send to the office each magazine editor of the title, usually send in the paper. If so, be forwarded to the artist.

        One thing I want you to know. More than half the magazine editorial offices, SPAM attacks have been forced to shut down email address. Even arrived, he/her read an email in English or do not know. So just the paper.

        You loves Creator, Who is it? I’m Japanese, for me to examine the public address publishers or anime-studios, it is easy. Even a lot, no problem.
        Also mentions the name of the artist with the title. Publishers have a different case.

    • Nando says:

      What can someone in the US like me hope to do about this?

      • Otherwise fan mail paper. Might write a letter to the Japanese embassy. If you are the United States citizen(or military), even the State Department. They are numbered and stored.
        Polite, a real name on the letter.

  21. n says:

    A game journalist named Kiyoshi Shin wrote on his Twitter account that the reason video games weren’t included in this bill was thanks to the CERO rating system (here: http://twitter.com/kiyoshi_shin/status/13463440047734784). If the manga and anime industry implemented such a system, they might be able to deflect some of the criticism they get for “selling inappropriate materials to minors” without having to resort to censorship.

  22. tama says:

    “Liam Zwitser says:
    December 15, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Because of his attitude? How do you mean? they could already easily do something about that under the old definition,apparently Ishihara simply doesn’t have much infleunce on them. They are an independent body, you know ;-)”

    Ishihara is an enemy of Anime and Manga. All of his remarks seem to confirm this fact. It seems he even said the publishers to fuck off when a reporter asked him about them not participating in Tokyo Anime Fair.
    Seeing how the old regulation could already check anime and manga in, there was no need for a bill like this. But nevertheless they’ve forced this through using dirty tricks. It’s only for sake of having their way with anime and manga however they please. So it’s only expected that they won’t give anime any freedom from now on. Ishihara and his co. will definitely get in the way with the valuation of shows. They’ve also got the right to directly intervene with the titles that they thought as harmful for the youth.

    • Liam Zwitser says:

      “They’ve also got the right to directly intervene with the titles that they thought as harmful for the youth.”

      Who are “they”? Ishihara and co can’t do anything, they are legislative power, the commitee (which is apparently quite mild given the fast couple of years) is executive power.

      Yes, the law states that Ishihara has the right to publicly criticize a publisher, but *only* if the publisher publishes six works within one year that are deemed harmfull, and then ignores warnings. Given the fact that nothing can be deemed harmfull if it is marketed as 18+, this comes down to producing 6 titles in a row that should have been marketed as 18+, then still refusing to market a similar 7th title as such… that is quite harsh behaviour not?

      And how the hell could Ishihara get in the way of the classification process? The only one I think can get in anyone’s way right now is the Prime Minister who could maybe force Ishihara to back down (national government > local government, not? :3)

      • tama says:

        You’re right about what you’re saying but it’s Ishihara we’re talking about. I don’t think he will stop doing nothing after this. He will do everything he can to influence the committe and to stop the materials get by without any damage. He probably wants to crush the whole indsutry.

        • Liam Zwitser says:

          But don’t you think that if he does really try to influence the commitee, the mayority in the tokyo parliament who opposed the law initially (and who wrote the appandment about taking into consideration a works’ artistic etc. merits!) will stop him? If necessary, they could even simply retract the law.

          Pluss, it won’t go into effect until after his term is up.

          and lastly, the national government can probably overrule Tokio. Kan was not happy. And I mean, the Japanese government is trowing millions of dollars into promoting anime and manga, even has the ambasadors of cuteness and stuff like that — don’t you think they will stop Ishihara if he becomes too much of a nuisance?

          Whoever wants to defeat Ishihara in the coming election might want to make an important point of his anti-homo crap talk.

          Oh and offcourse the anime industry is a media industry; I think they should try to completely ruin Ishihara on one hand, while on the other, maybe provide free campaigning and a couple million dollars to the opposing candidate, offcourse only if he promises the retract the law? Wouldn’t that be a good strategy? ;-)

  23. Mike Craig says:

    I’m still following the events and I will anything to help defend Anime and Manga as we know it.

    Tokyo’s next Gubernatorial Election is next April. Would that affect the new amendment?

  24. ... says:

    I don’t really see what the ruckus is about.
    The Governor condemns the sexualisation of both children AND rape? Oh noes.

    • Nando says:

      That is just his cover story. He is a craven, hateful man who has long expressed his disgust at anime and manga, and thus authored this extremely vague law to create the mechanism to censor it.

      “The children” is only his way of getting his foot in the door.

    • AntiActivist says:

      Actually you missed the entire point of this law. This doesn’t only target children and rape. It prohibits violence, sexual situations, suggestive themes, homosexuality, or anything else they deem as inappropriate for children about characters of any age group in any forms of anime, manga or video games from being sold in Tokyo. As long as the politicians consider the content as immoral, they’ll ban it.

      Basically this “law” has outlawed series like Berserk, Fushigi Yuugi, Evangelion, Bleach, etc.

      Furthermore Ishihara doesn’t even condemn sexualizing children, since he built his entire reputation as a novelist writing various novels about raping schoolgirls.

      • Liam Zwitser says:

        That’s nonsense. If they wanted to ban shows like bleach they could have already done so, because all of the violence clauses were already in the law. You know as good as I do that bleach, evangelion, etc. do not fall under this law. If they would have wanted to restrict them they would have done so with the old law already. Total bullshit.

        Furthermore they can’t really ban anything.

        • AntiActivist says:

          I agree with you entirely, but you have to realize, the vagueness of this law has opened an entirely new field of potential abuse of power from any government officials.

          Bleach features violence, especially violence against women once in a while, and it’s also including sexually suggestive characters.

          Evangelion includes underaged nudity, sexual material, violence, etc. Especially the regularly pointed out scene where Shinji masturbates on Asuka while she was unconscious.

          Berserk and Fushigi Yuugi used rape and violence as a plot twist.

          With this new law, they can actually use those specific reasons to ban the anime or manga in Tokyo, because they can easily consider it as unsuitable for children to view.

          You should already know that Ishihara doesn’t even care what the Japanese citizens think about all this, as long as he has the ability to abuse his power he’ll go ahead and do it anyways. Especially since Ishihara and his cronies ignored a signed petition from hundreds of thousands of protesters, and complaint letters against the bill as well from normal citizens. He now has the authority to ban any anime or manga he deems as unsuitable for children. All this is nothing but a way for Ishihara to gain a new form of power he can abuse.

          He has already personally declared anime and manga fans as worthless, so any opinions from citizens supporting anime and manga, along with the industry are nothing but useless noise to him.

          • Liam Zwitser says:

            But like I said, the point is that they could *already* easily do so. That is also why I don’t really understand the new law anyway; it doesn’t give them any more powers, really.

            • AntiActivist says:

              It’s really nothing but a show of power, and an attempt to control the media. Ishihara’s pretty much telling their citizens, they can pass any law they want, as long as it’s vague enough to pass, and he’s still in control of Tokyo.

              This law pretty much makes a lot of publishers nervous, especially if it’s a small one. They’re worried if they start printing a series, and the government begins to take it apart and bans it in Tokyo. The publisher lost all income they spent on printing the series, or the work for the animation.

              Furthermore, there are several small publishers in Tokyo that’s already refusing any stories that involves high school as a setting, and any yuri/yaoi submissions. Which is causing a lot of frustration amongst young artists and writers. Now they don’t even know what’s allowed anymore because the government never clarified specifically what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.

              Which brings up the question if this is nothing but a way for the government to control the media again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly you read nothing of Mr. Kanemitsu’s articles.

    • Victor says:

      No its just the fact that he WRITES about such things in his own novels, yet is trying to deny mangakas (authors) from doing the same, the man’s a hypocrite if there ever was one. The laws would be similar to banning any movie or book that could be considered “harmful” to minors, which leads to censorship -> less freedoms -> ruling class taking more power, etc. He is making a power grab by trying to take control of one of japan’s largest industries, probably only behind electronics and vehicles.

  25. AntiActivist says:

    I personally think everyone who signed the petition should protest by camping in front o of the parliament, blocking any chance of entry for Ishihara and all the other cronies who supported this stupid bill.

    If they really want to make an impact, block that hatemongering racist and the rest of those idiots from working ever again, until this becomes a national televised embarrassment for them.

  26. Yatsu says:

    Thanks for all the information you’ve been given. You’ve been really helpful in clearing up the misconceptions I had.

    Um, just a question: One site said that OreImo would be affected by this law… is it true?

    • Liam Zwitser says:

      Definitely, absolutely, not. Unthinkable.

      simple: the series doesn’t show sex directly. Nor illegal relationships.

    • AntiActivist says:

      Actually it’s possible because they’ll probably claim that it encourages underaged children to purchase erogames or look for information on these erogames, even though there are strict laws which prohibits the sale of any erogames to children already.

      • Liam Zwitser says:

        No. They might think so but it simply doesn’t contain any sexual realtionships. It doesn’t fulfill the criteria of the law. So they cannot use this law to restrict it to adults-only. In a 3rd world country maybe, but in a normal nation , if you don’t fullfill the criteria of a law, you don’t fall under it.

        • AntiActivist says:

          No, I didn’t say anything about sexual content. I was referring to the idea that the government will believe this series will encourage children to seek out erogames and encourage them to buy erogames, since the main character Kirino is an underaged girl that searches and buys erogames.

          The government will probably consider this as a bad influence to children, and will consider a ban based on this character’s behaviour. Especially since there were several complaints by parents to the ratings board due to this “bad influence”, despite the fact the show is airing at a very late time slot which children are usually asleep at this period.

          • Liam Zwitser says:

            Well if the rating’s board ignored those comments before why would they stop doing so right now? If the arguments you make would be sufficient to restrict it to adults-only, then why wouldn’t they have done so already?

            The old law would allow that as well.

            • AntiActivist says:

              The best I can say is wait and see if they’ll make it an issue again. We can’t really say anything until the law comes into effect. They can always claim the old review by the ratings board was based on older laws, and the newer laws have made it illegal now.

              • Liam Zwitser says:

                Who is “they”? It’s the same rating board not?

                And since the new definition is actually a lot narrower than the old definition I don’t see how they could do that. I don’t see why they would want too either — the people in the ratings board don’t change. I really just don’t understand what the practical (legal) advantage of this new clause in the law is, because it really doesn’t add anything not covered in the original definition.

                Also, why do you keep saying illegal? they can’t ban anything.

                • AntiActivist says:

                  Wow.. You really like to twist people’s words around don’t you? Are you even reading what I say anymore, or you’re just trying to read in between non-existent lines?

                  Wow.. You really like to twist people’s words around don’t you? Are you even reading what I say anymore, or you’re just trying to read in between non-existent lines?

                  I can’t believe I have to explain to you who “They” are. “They” as in parents or any government staff can always make things an issue and blow things over the top later in the future. The Japanese government has already done these types of things in the past before, for example the recent events concerning the erogame industry. Just because of complaints from a radical feminist group based primarily in the US, the Japanese government changed all the laws on what’s permissible for topics in the erogame industry due to a single game’s rape content. The government listened to these American feminists despite the fact the game was not supposed to be sold internationally, and furthermore it was never legally translated. It was illegally sold internationally primarily by a software pirate that made discs of an English translation hacked version of the game. The government started to villify games with this content on television and began banning rape content from all erogames, and furthermore they went beyond that and started listing all other topics they considered as inappropriate as banned. This resulted in several games getting blocked from continuing production, or they had to change the story and content entirely to suit the new law. The government didn’t even go through the appropriate channels to start this ban either, because they didn’t have an appropriate vote or even consulted with anyone in the industry, instead they forced the Ratings Board to ban these numerous topics immediately.

                  Furthermore, how do you actually know what goes on in the government staff member’s heads? According to the new law, it’s based on the Tokyo government’s discretion on what they deem as appropriate or inappropriate. It’s no longer up to the Ratings Board. If the Tokyo government considers the anime or manga as inappropriate to be sold to children, then they’ll stop it from selling in Tokyo, it’s simple as that. Basically this is entirely different from the earlier situation where they had to deal with the Ratings Board first, with this new Bill, the government has primarily put themselves ahead of the Ratings Board, since it was voted into law, instead of the previous situation where they didn’t bother to create a Bill.

                  For you to ask why I said “illegal” is ridiculous, if the Tokyo government wants to declare something “illegal” then it’s their discretion. It’s not up to us. You really need to learn that Japanese law isn’t as friendly as most people would like to believe, their policy is pretty much, “You’re guilty until you can appropriately prove you’re innocent beyond a doubt.”

                  • Anon says:

                    Almost everything you’ve said in your post is incorrect.

                    1) The Japanese government made no changes to laws concerning eroge. No law banning eroge content was created. What they did do was put pressure on one of the voluntary ratings groups, which then changed what they considered allowed. This initially caused some turmoil in games being released or about to be released for those companies using said voluntary ratings group. Based off of continued availability and production of rape-based eroge, the long term effect on content (some covers and descriptions have been changed) does not appear to be significant.

                    2) Bill 156 made no changes in the process of how items are deemed harmful. Only the definition has been changed. The same committee that determined whether or not a book/etc was harmful under the old definition is the same committee that will determine if a book/etc is harmful under the new definition. The Tokyo government has not inserted itself into the process.

                    This is the problem with these things – so much misinformation that it is appalling. I suspect a great deal of this comes from one particular website – who I will not name, that is popular among English speaking anime fans. Said website seems to consist of 10% fact, 20% wild speculation stated as fact, and 70% hyperbole.

                    • dankanemitsu says:

                      I wish I could write more detailed responses, but you are correct on those two points.

                      While the pressure for an eroge clampdown came from some legislators in the Diet, the actual rule change was conducted by the self-regulatory group. Also, I really should explain how some games follow the self-regulatory rules, while others don’t, but that has to do with distribution issues, which I’ll cover another day.

                      You are right on the money regarding Bill 156’s changes. The process of determining what’s harmful and how it should be sold has not been changed. What was changed was the definition of what constitutes harmful material.

                      However, while the evaluation committee itself is independent, political pressure can be manifested, so we need to watch carefully.

                      But I do agree about being careful to rush to conclusion. Making suppositions is fine and great for enhancing a debate, but it should never be a substitute for facts.

  27. unforgiven31 says:

    After reading all this, it seems to me that the gist of the new law is that in Tokyo the anime, manga, etc. that are addressed to minors will be evaluated by a committee and that there will be more strict criteria in order for them to be classified ‘suitable for under 18′. This does not mean that those series that portray sex, homosexuality, violence etc. will be banned, just that their publishers will be obliged to rate them R18. Of course that might have a negative impact on the publishers’ target groups under 18, but come on, it’s not like it’s impossible for minors to buy R18 manga or DVDs. Here in Greece buying porn magazines and DVDs is prohibited for minors too, but there’s not one of my friends who didn’t get his hands on them before 18. What I mean is, all the publisher has to do is rate the series in the gray area as ‘adult’, and there ends his responsibility. Besides, the bill is kind of vague and I believe it’s still rather subjective which series are ‘sexually stimulating’ or whatever, and anyway it really is up to the classification committee to decide that. I do hope they will be less conservative. And finally, laws can change, or never be actually enforced even after they are passed, if the political costs are considered too high (that happens a lot in Greece too). If enough pressure is put by the industry, there is a high chance of this law never being actually enforced, especially since the governor who pressed for it is leaving soon (hopefully he won’t get reelected). If it does get enforced though, its effect will probably be that the publishers will have to rate more series as R18 than before, and promote more ‘innocent’ series for publication, especially those publishers whose target groups are mainly minors. But really, defining what is ‘healthy for the young’ is not as clear-cut as it might seem at first. For example, in a country like Japan with its long tradition in martial arts, what constitutes depiction of ‘excessive violence’? And isn’t there in so many stories a villain character who commits sexually-related crimes? The bill says that it’s prohibited to depict those acts in a ‘glorifying’ way, not that they can’t be mentioned at all. And will a manga or anime be judged as a whole, or by separate scenes? There are many questions like that, and it seems to me that this classification committee will have their work cut out for them, that is if they take their job seriously and not just condemn manga or anime indiscriminately.

    • Liam Zwitser says:

      In fact, all the things about violence were already in there. The commitee already exists, but because of the DPJ should get more funding and “take longer time to review each material in light of their greater responsibilities” (or something like that).

      Apparently they have been quite mild over the past few years as violent stuff almost never is deemed harmfull … while they easily could already.

      The “glorifying” part only refers to sex BTW, not violence. And what is wrong with glorifying violence BTW, I love berserk, claymore and guyver etc. ! =D

      BTW, at the end of your post I get the impression you think that the act actually does ban “glorified, excessive depictions of violence” altogether, well thank god it does not, since I enjoy them a lot. The “excessive” part of the bill, too, is only about what is avaliable to minors ;-)

      I do agree with you that this is not an apocalypse tough ;-)

      • tama says:

        It’s hard to think that the committe will be the same after all this confusion. Before this they probably had not been under much pressure and thanks to that they had been be able to lax when deciding what is ok for minors. But I can’t expect the same for this time around. Maybe only after Ishihara leaves and a more open-minded governor takes the seat.

        • Liam Zwitser says:

          Aren’t you forgetting that a mayority in the council is not anti-anime and manga (DPJ, comm. and one other) and that they have instructions (thanx for the DPJ) explicitly stating that they should take into account a work’s artistic, social, escapist, and cynical function? They could use that to be even more lax actually, if they wanted to. ALso, Ishihara will leave *before* the law becomes active. And let’s not forget Naoto Kan — the PM being worried might put them under some pressure to stay “lax”, too — I wouldn’t be surprised if the DPJ overruled Tokyo if it *does* turn out to have bad results. They are running the country, after all.

  28. Nando says:

    Now that a couple days have passed, what is the current status of the general situation? It’s been difficult to keep up over here.

  29. Monex says:

    DPJ agreed with the bill on condition that the resolution will be made with a collateral claim for a careful operation of the regulation. Mangaka tweeted that one of the major publishers turned her manga down because one of the characters in a high school uniform could contravene the local ordinance of Tokyo. She was frightened to know that the bill has already made the industry flinch.

  30. DaniFiasco says:

    then what about one piece..i feel like its under threat too..i mean characters like nami who wear less clothing and such will lose their personality if this law is still retained after that idiots term..and one piece also has that slave issue and alot of women wearing less clothing..i mean it will really kill the show if such laws are given the go ahead and noting is done

  31. Anonymous says:

    “Harmful material” that is stated in the article which mentioned it will cause damage to our body. Does that even related to any animes? I mean, would you think Luffy from one piece can shoot his elastic arm out from the tv and hit our face? That’s doesn’t make any sense to anti-anime. By the way, why don’t Japan just start from restricting pornography which is publishing on everyday?

  32. janine says:

    awesum site
    great read
    happy new year

  33. ifightformybeliefs says:

    really damned stupid to blame crime and social problems on entertainment. banning anime and manga will not solve anything. if criminals really want to carry out their crimes, they will do so regardless of the ban. violence, drugs, sex and such existed long before entertainment. also it’s really retarded to say that minors may get influenced by all this “harmful” material. back as a teen, i had many friends who possessed actual porn videos of adults having intercourse and everything, but my friends never did become rapists or pedophiles. my friends too played violent games and watched violent movies containing drugs and sex as well, but they never felt the urge to pick up a weapon and start killing people. hence, the same can be said for anime and manga as well. sure there’s all this “harmful” stuff in entertainment, but it’s really a subjective matter. what’s offensive to one may be acceptable to another. moreover, seeing all that stuff in entertainment is nothing compared to what you see in reality. for example, it’s really fun to watch Kill Bill where heads and bodyparts are being severed, yet seeing a simple shouting match in real life’s totally unnerving. in conclusion, there’s a world of difference between graphic portrayal and reality. once again, blaming entertainment’s retarded.

    • Victor says:

      Same argument here in the states regarding video games my friend. If its less than 80-90 years old, people will flip their shit and start ranting about how this new “X” ( music, Art form, game) is corrupting the youth and is the source of all the evils in society, it happened with rock, ( Elvis “the pelvis” presly ) metal, and rap heck look at movies before the 1930’s and after, you’ll see a trend of “moral ” gaurdians , power hungry politicians and artists who get crushed and beaten for not being “right” in those peoples eyes. Til we find the genome that makes these people, we just have to deal and find ways to limit their influence

  34. Ifightformybeliefs says:

    It’s really bloody ridiculous and absurd to blame crime and other social problems on entertainment. it’s also equally absurd to claim that any form of entertainment, whether anime, manga, comics, movies, or video games is “harmful” for minors, especially teens. As one, i had several friends who played violent M rated games from franchises like GTA, Mortal Kombat, Left4dead, Dead Space and Manhunt, as well as watched actual live pornography featuring real adults engaging in intercourse, not to mention hentai, yet they never did become violent murderers or sadistic rapists, and are law abiding citizens. Moreover, most of the “harmful” content depicted in entertainment, especially violence, is actually bullshit. For example, in Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, characters get stabbed or badly injured in fights, which do spur the interest and excitement of the viewers, yet in reality, if they were to view even a shouting match on the street, it will definitely be an unnerving, frighting experience.

    here in this post, i’m defending all kinds of entertainment, not just anime, manga and video games. I do hope that this ridiculous bill gets abolished and that the bastard isihara either retires or dies due to his old age like the senile old cunt he is. One thing I always respected about Japan is that it’s an open-minded country. I also pray that Japan will continue to be so now and always.

  35. bill156sucks says:

    this law is so stupid … anime,manga, and videogames are a great contribution to japans economy … taing away these things will probably screw them over

  36. Akira says:

    I personally think this is a good idea you dont need porn in every anime show.. I would like to watch a show that didnt have boobs and panty flashes every couple of seconds plus i dont like the idea of sexualizing kids in anime either so I think this will be a good move for anime.

    • Akira says:

      lmao never mind it will be bad considering I read above comments and it will ban anything not suitable for kids :O

      • DoN says:

        personally I think its a bad move to get politicians involved.
        I’d rather leave it to fair game and see whether the authors have creativity. take one piece and fairy tail for example. :)

  37. DoN says:

    SO… since this “LAW” takes in to account all anime/manga/media. then they would have killed the Doujinshi industry. :(

    Never trust a politician.

  38. US Otaku says:

    OK I know I will probably be called “that guy” but I mean I honestly say that this is a good idea however if taken too far then it would be a bad thing. I think that what kids are exposed to is a serious issue because when you think about how kids interpret the things they see. Plus the fact that sex has become as common as Looney Tunes is pretty sad. Sex, and the entire act of sex should not be something taken lightly and young kids should not be exposed to such a topic. I don’t want artists to be stifled when it comes to creativity however if they could come up with like an awesome idea for an anime or manga that does not totally rely on sex, upskirt shots and/or other forms of fan service and bad language then I think that it woudl be more successful in the open market than lets say a hentai in the adults market. I will say that when most people think about Japan they think about the vending machines with used panties and porn with pixelation on the genitals as well as the child like screams and pain looking expressions on the faces of Japanese women. However when it comes to anime and manga most people will think about titles like Love Hina, Ranma 1/2, Gundam, Gintama, and other titles that relied heavily on the story line and grabbed our attention like a bull about to charge you with the look of hatred. Anime and manga have such a glorious history and such rich characters that are so memorable that by today’s standards they might as well be real people. I applaud the anime and manga makers and their staff for making anime that is all about story and the journey that is coming. However those who make basically watered down hentai and its more about showing a girls chest or panties and there is no story, well its just sad. In the history of story telling and the many cultures who told these stories, none of them just concentrated on one aspect just to keep people interested, it was much more. You can look at Native American stories, and look at every known civilization and the stories they passed down and none of them just go straight to sex or even mention sex. There is a fine line between creativity and smut and let me tell you smut isn’t hard to make but creativity takes time and it takes alot more to make it come alive. So yes the bill may sound like it will kill the anime and manga world, however read between the lines and really see where the bill is coming from. It isn’t about stifling creativity or anything like that, it is putting the line down between real artists and smut peddlers. Thank you

  39. SkepticWanderer says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write thid, Dan.

    While I think many people are grossly exaggerating the issue, I would still like to know whether or not this bill would cover things like Naruto and Bleach.

  40. SomethingAweFul says:

    Hello Dan. Bless you for taking the time out of your day to keep us informed about the situation. I have a younger brother who is obsessed (for the lack of a better word) with anime and claims that he can feel emotional attachments with the characters (which I find a bit silly, but whatever floats your boat) and when he heard about this bill he became absolutely distraught with anxiety that he told me that the pain he felt in his chest from anxiety was (Like a clamp had been placed around his heart and was tearing it out at the seems). He still worries about it often to this day and I don’t know what I can tell him to console him. Thank you for letting the truth out about this extremely vague bill and keep up the good work.

  41. martin says:

    Dan, How old is your brother? Maybe he is a lonely guy and anime is his shelter. Does he have any bulling echoes in his school? Maybe is just a stage I don`t know… 10 years ago I was also very into anime and stuff…not to the point of disguising. but yeah I watched several series back then because I didn`t have many friends and I was bored I was either watch that or see tom and jerry.. you know.. or play NES, superNES…

    Probably it is just a fase… I mean anime storylines are well made (compare to usa storylines) so it is easy for a teen to relate to certain character, no wonder anime is so huge in that age group.

    Now about to the manga bill, I come from a “western” background so If they only ban pedophiles explicit hentai manga, that (again, my western/christian background) I would agree. I mean there things that underage kids…particularly preadolescent boys and girls shouldn`t be exposed to.

    Best wishes to you and your brother.

    Martin

  42. martin says:

    LoL I said Dan, the comment above was addressed to “SomethingAweFul`s comment” above mine…

  43. Barton Cante says:

    Great information :)

  44. Tara Rahman says:

    I don’t think that reading manga and watching anime have any more effect on young people than video games….http://ogibogi.com/node/15685 for details.

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